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Prog Folk

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Kontraburger Kontraburger album cover
4.20 | 6 ratings | 1 reviews | 83% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2002

Songs / Tracks Listing

Dziwny (4:15)
Biznesmen (4:41)
Bida (2:53)
Smok (8:17)
Krasnoludy (3:17)
Ptak (6:08)
Pieknie Jest (5:04)
Karnawal (3:21)
Malgorzata (6:23)
San Marino (2:53)

Total Time: 47:12

Line-up / Musicians

- Maga / vocal
- Malgorzata Litwinowicz / flute
- Sylwia Swiatkowska / violín
- Jarek Kaczmarek / guitar
- Wojciech Stasiak / guitar
- Tomasz Zur / bass
- Janusz Kossakowski / percussion

Guest musicians:
- Malgorzata Madejska / vocals
- Additional Session Musicians

Releases information

CD ARS Mundi AMS 032R (2002)

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KONTRABURGER Kontraburger ratings distribution

(6 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(83%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(17%)
Good, but non-essential (0%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

KONTRABURGER Kontraburger reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ClemofNazareth
4 stars Here's another band I was attracted to because of the album cover, even though the band itself was unknown to me. Kontraburger's lone release features the 1573 Giuseppe Arcimboldo painting 'Winter', one of the later issues in a series that includes 'Water', which was the cover art for the 1975 Kansas release 'Masque'.

But inside the artwork comes an even more exciting discovery - the music. Kontraburger are an up-and-coming and pretty unassuming group of Polish folk musicians whose blending of all kinds of musical styles results in a thoroughly entertaining and adventurous prog folk album. The sounds here include psychedelic, ethnic jazz, something akin to post-punk at times, and what can only be described as Celtic snippets. A very difficult band to classify, but prog folk seems like a nice place for them to find a home.

Several of the tracks here are loosely based on literary themes, including a reworked Icelandic tune labeled "Smok" with eerie violin and extended instrumental wanderings; the French poet Charles Baudelaire's "Litany to Satan"; and some almost carnival passages based on works of the Italian author Eugenio Barba ("San Marino"). In addition the band manages to incorporate world music influences in the form of the Ukrainian folk song "Bida" as well as "Małgorzata", which is inspired by the Russian novelist Mihail Bulgakov's "The Master and Margarita".

There's so much to absorb here from a lyrical and literary standpoint, but what cannot be overlooked is the wonderful and intricate music itself. The predominant instrument is Sylwia Świątkowska's violin, which is moody, often dissonant and seductive, and particularly impressive considering this young lady was apparently only in her twenties when this album was recorded. She later appeared as a member of the Warsaw Village Band but according to the band's web site is still a member of Kontraburger. Malgorzata Litwinowicz adds flute, and while not as dominant it adds greatly to the folk atmosphere and enhances the eastern Slavic feel of the music.

This is a really wonderful collection of world music of an acoustic folk nature that will instantly appeal to folk music fans of just about any stripe, as well as world music nuts and anyone who takes a fancy to stringed music. I've only had it for a short while and am continuing to explore the music while trying to absorb the various fantasy and literary themes of the lyrics. Undoubtedly I'll be wandering back this way to add another star to this album once I become completely enamored, but for now I'll respect the slow aging process that led to other albums becoming 'masterpieces' to me, and leave this one at a very solid four stars and a heavy expectation for long staying power on my heavy rotation list. Enjoy.


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